What are you reading? (And what are you drinking with it?)
Name: David Bolton, Chelsea Harbour, London
What are you drinking with it: Australian Pinot Noir
Thoughts so far:
Rachel has been a journalist for many years, including ten years on The Times, where she was variously a reporter, feature writer and columnist. Her interest in health and therapy led to her completing the first year of training as a counsellor. She is the co-editor of ‘If: A Treasury of Poems for Almost Every Possibility’ and currently lives in London with husband and their children.
Having read the book, I was recently fortunate enough to actually meet the author and get an insight into what Rachel actually went through and the loneliness of feeling no one really believed just how much she was suffering at the time. Over a period of three days, Rachel recounts how she descended from being a functioning working mother into a pain ridden physical and emotional wreck. There was no warning, no physical cause and no apparent trigger. Before me was a woman that I could feel had suffered deeply. Suffered not only from her disability but suffered from the fact that no one, at the time, was listening to the fact of how much “Physical” pain she was experiencing. The medical teams’ focus was on her emotional state and appeared not to believe that emotions could be manifested in a physical way:
“I couldn’t believe I could simultaneously be alive and feel such pain. Everything throbbed. It was a pain like no other, suffusing every bit of me. I had become pain, and pain had become me. If only it could just affect an arm or a leg. I would have swapped everything for containable agony. If only there had been a gashed lip, some vomit or blood to demonstrate what I was feeling. No one realised how much I hurt. No one understood. There was nobody to whom I could explain this total disquiet”.
Rachel is a woman who has shown great courage and determination to survive her ordeal – despite medical intervention at times. Following on from her suffering, it took Rachel six years to write this book and her work has given great support and hope to many fellow people since. Rachel found comfort and relief through poetry, meditation and mindfulness. She shares many poems with us in her book.
In my humble way, I explained to Rachel how, in my opinion, physical and emotional pain are probably one in the same. I explained that if we are not acknowledging our emotional state then the brain will endeavour to protect us by letting us know in another way that we are in Danger, even be it from our thoughts! The brain wants us to listen and take the situation seriously. If a state of denial exists, for whatever reason then the brain will try to let us know by whatever means at its disposal. The “Danger” can then be manifested through the physical experience of body pain and even body pathology. Rachel expressed that, had she had this little piece of knowledge and understanding of pain, just how much better she would have been able to endure her experience of not being heard. The words of poetry gave her such relief, imagine what the words of pain knowledge might have achieved.
On a daily basis neuroscientific research is revealing the treasures of the workings of the brain, the construction of consciousness, of thoughts, feelings and emotions. However we don’t only need science to prove a point, we simply need to listen to the patient as their experience is their reality………
– David Bolton
David Bolton, MCSP MMACP MSOM, has over 40 years of clinical experience in the field of neuromusculoskeletal medicine and is a long time NOI faculty member. After qualifying in 1971 from the Royal Army Medical Corps School of Physiotherapy, David spent 24 years living and working in Switzerland, running a busy and very successful private practice as well as providing specialist physiotherapy services to the Swiss Alpine Downhill Ski and Ski Jumping Teams, the Swiss National Karate Squad and the Menuhin School of Music.
In 1997 David decided to down size and move his practice back to his roots in London. Setting up Limbus in Chelsea Harbour, David now specialises purely in acute and chronic, therapy-resistant pathologies, biopsychosocial thinking being the core of his treatment philosophy.
In his free time, when you can get him off the tennis court, David loves to travel.